Dec. 13, 2010
Cuban print exhibit with Northwest ties receives positive reviews
MARYVILLE, Mo. - With support from Northwest Missouri State University, an exhibition of prints that document a changing Cuban culture, is on display at the United Community Center, Latino Arts Inc., in Milwaukee.
"Contemporary Cuban Printmaking" features more than 70 works by more than 30 artists from the Taller Experimental de Gráfica. The works include block prints, calligraphy, etchings, hand relief prints and lithographs.
The Racela Educational and Charitable Foundation owns the collection, while Northwest Missouri State serves as custodian.
In a presentation to celebrate the exhibit's opening Dec. 3 in Milwaukee, Philip Laber, chair of Northwest's Department of Art, discussed the collection's history and his observations of the Cuban artists as they strived for creativity in a closed society. He noted the exhibit is meant to promote not only contemporary Cuban printmaking but cultural diversity.
"Hopefully this show can get out and do what it was originally intended to do," Laber said. "Obviously it has an appeal to a certain type of institution and I'm just thrilled that it's getting the recognition it deserves."
Laber and a group of Kansas City-area artists were invited to Havana, Cuba, in 2004 by Dr. Antonio Racela for the purpose of building the collection. Racela, co-founder of the Kansas City-based Medical Missions Foundation, is a major collector of Cuban prints.
In addition to doing art projects at a Havana children's hospital, the group visited artists associated with Havana's Taller Experimental de Gráfica, a government-sponsored studio and gallery established in 1962.
"By meeting all of these artists it was a great central meeting point to get to know a group of contemporary artists working all at one time," Laber said. "(The Racela Foundation) bought quite a few prints while we were in Cuba, some directly from the artists, some from the workshop."
The Milwaukee exhibit is the collection's first showing outside Missouri. After debuting at Northwest in 2005, parts of the collection were exhibited at Columbia College and at the Kansas City Art Institute.
"This is the first time it's really gone out in full, and it was just exceptionally well-received," Laber said.The exhibit continues through Feb. 3. For more about the exhibit click here.
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